22/07/2017 - IRAQ
Labib Rammo, along with his wife and children, left Ankawa's exile to return home. After three years, "we really feel we are in the right place." Hope to find coexistence with Muslims; Reconstruction a "duty"; Sufferings have "strengthened our faith".
22/07/2017 - ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Protests in Jerusalem: Hundreds of Palestinians injured and three dead
Tensions high since early morning. The clashes exploded after prayers, triggered by the stun grenade launched by the police to separate demonstrators. The victims between 18 and 20. In the evening, a Palestinian stabbed tand killed three settlers because "there is no life after what I have seen at al-Aqsa".
21/07/2017 - SYRIA
Disabled and orphaned by war, boy calls for a spring of peace in Syria
Rabee Zarife is a 15-year-old Muslim. In November 2016, he lost his father and both legs when a shell exploded. Today, Caritas Syria is caring for him materially and psychologically. His greatest desire is to complete his studies but he still cannot go to school. Sometimes, he feels “like when I was a baby of one-year old”.
21/07/2017 - ASIA
AIDS-related deaths drop, except in Central Asia and the Middle East, UN agency reports
UNAIDS found an "alarming" trend in the two Asian regions. Cases and deaths are up, with many people going without treatment.
21/07/2017 - TURKEY – GREECE
Quake hits Turkish coast: two dead, hundreds injured
The 6.3 quake struck overnight at 1:31 am, just 10 kilometres below the seabed.
21/07/2017 - IRAN
Lawmakers to scrap citizenship law that discriminates against women
Only men can pass their citizenship to their children and spouse. This way, thousands of children remain stateless. The most vulnerable are the children of Afghan refugees.
20/07/2017 - LEBANON
“Surrender or die”: Countdown for Al-Nusra in Jaroud Arsal and Qalamounby Pierre Balanian
Serious fighting is underway in Idleb with Al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and allies. Al-Nusra in Lebanon is totally isolated and time is on the Lebanese army’s side. According to Basel El Hugeiri, mayor of Arsal, the Lebanese army urged civilians to leave.
20/07/2017 - SAUDI ARABIA
Miniskirt-wearing Saudi woman released
Officially the police accepted the version of the aspiring model who said that the video was private and posted without her knowledge. The case sparked opposite reactions on Saudi social media.
20/07/2017 - SYRIA – UNITED NATIONS
FAO: Wheat harvest in Syria improving, but still less than half of prewar production
This year's harvest is 1.8 million tonnes, up 12 per cent over last. Some 6.9 million people are food insecure, another 5.6 million are at risk without monthly aid. Deir-ez-Zor and Ar-Raqqa are the most at risk.
20/07/2017 - ASIA
Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai among most sought-after destinations in 2017 City Index
New York is still first, but Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong are second and third for business. The top ten includes Tokyo (fifth), Beijing (seventh), and Shanghai (tenth). The younger generation prefer Abu Dhabi and Tokyo. The data comes from the Ipsos Global survey of the best cities in which to live, work and visit.
19/07/2017 - ISRAEL – PALESTINE
Clashes break out in Jerusalem between Israeli police and Muslims
Violence started at the end of the evening prayer. Worshippers prayed outside the mosques in protest against the presence of metal detectors. Fatah called for the "Day of rage".
19/07/2017 - IRAN – UNITED STATES
New US sanctions angers Iran, which pledges its own sanctions
New sanctions against the Islamic Republic are due to its support for “terrorist” groups and the Syrian regime as well as its missile programme. Some 18 entities or individuals are targeted. Washington is “deeply concerned" about Iran's "malign activities". Tehran slams the sanctions as illegal, pledges sanctions of its own against the US.
18/07/2017 - TURKEY
More human rights activists arrested in Turkey, including Amnesty International's Turkey director
A Turkish court has remanded into custody six militants, including İdil Eser, in what Amnesty International calls a "travesty of justice". Two trainers, a Swedish and a German, have also been detained. They were charged with "committing a crime in the name of a terror organisation without being a member”, namely the Gülen movement.
18/07/2017 - IRAN
President Rouhani's brother released on multi-million-dollar bail
Hossein Ferydoun was arrested yesterday for "financial issues". His initial bail of US$ 13 million was reduced to US$ 9.3 million. The inquiry remains ongoing and he could still end up in jail again. The struggle between the judiciary (backed by the Guardians of the Revolution) and Rouhani gets worse.
18/07/2017 - VATICAN
Pope on twitter reaches 35 million followers
Benedict XVI launched the account 3 December 2012. Available in nine languages, it is one the most followed in the world with the most retweets. In recent weeks, the pope’s thoughts about Charlie Gard and very sick children was extensively retweeted.
17/07/2017 - LEBANON
Young Maronites from around the world rediscover their roots
World Maronite Youth Days (WMYD) are currently underway (13-23 July) aimed at immersing young foreign-born Maronites in an Antiochian-Syriac cultural environment to deepen their faith.
17/07/2017 - QATAR – GULF
UAE behind fake news that triggered Gulf crisis
17/07/2017 - IRAN
Iranian President Rouhani's brother arrested for unspecified financial issues
The authorities issued an arrest warrant for Hossein Ferydoun after he failed to secure bail. He is accused in connection with a scandal of inflated public managers wages. According to a spokesman for the judiciary, “other people have been investigated, some of whom are in jail”.
17/07/2017 - ISRAEL - PALESTINE
The Cave of Machpelah, Isaac and Ishmael “explained” by the Israeli statesman Uri Avnery
A UNESCO resolution sparked outraged because it described the site as “Palestinian”. This however is not an acknowledgment of property but rather of location. The place is holy to all the three monotheistic faiths. According the Genesis, Ishmael and Isaac, forefathers of Arabs and Jews, buried their father there together.
17/07/2017 - CHINA
Liu Xiaobo: a torch that enlightens human civilization
The testimony of the great nonviolent dissident is the highest contribution to humanity in the last (sterile) 500 years of Chinese history. A priest from North China offers an elegy in memory of Liu (and his wife).
16/07/2017 - VATICAN
Pope: Jesus invites us to look inward and carry our rocks and brambles in the confession
"Let us ask ourselves if our heart is open to accept faithfully the seed of the Word of God. Let us ask ourselves if the rocks of idleness are still numerous and big. Let us identify and call by name the brambles of vices. Let us find the courage to clean properly the ground, bringing our rocks and brambles to the Lord in the confession and in prayer.”
15/07/2017 - ISRAEL – PALESTINE
Jerusalem sealed off after attack on Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif
The compound will remain closed until tomorrow when an Israeli security cabinet meeting will be held. Two Israeli Druze policemen die. Netanyahu promises no changes to the status quo, but the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif remains at the centre of tensions and violence.
15/07/2017 - IRAN
Tehran ready for post-sanction tenders in 14 oil and gas fields
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) plans to offer the tenders in two or three months with minimum exploration expenditures of US$ 16 million to US$ 90 million. Western and Russian oil giants are interested. This sheds the fears of many European and non-European companies.
14/07/2017 - TURKEY
One year after the "coup" arrests and purges continue under the reign of "Sultan" Erdoğan
The repression campaign that began after the coup d'état of 15 July 2016 continues. More than 50,000 people have been arrested, 120,000 detained, and 170,000 investigated. The pilot who saved the president on the night of the coup lost his job. The government launched official celebration centred on nationalism and the cult of Erdoğan personality.
14/07/2017 - ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Shootout in Jerusalem: Three Palestinians killed and three Israelis injured
The three Palestinian assailants opened fire at 7 am, injuring the three Israeli policemen. The attackers, whose identities are still unknown, were shot dead..
13/07/2017 - IRAQ
For Baghdad, Kurdish Referendum is a greater threat to Iraq’s unity and future than the Islamic State
The vote could fuel fresh sectarian clashes. For some time, the Kurds have aspired to an independent state, but several of the region’s states (Syria, Iraq and, above all, Turkey) opposed the plan. Kurds have been used in regional wars, and now intend to decide their destiny. The US and Israel play a role. For Barzani, Baghdad is not a partner but could be a "good neighbour".
13/07/2017 - VATICAN
Pope: visiting the sick or giving food to the poor "is already preaching"
Francis’ message to the International Symposium on Catechesis in Buenos Aires, on the topic "Blessed are those who believe." "Being a catechist is a vocation of service in the Church, a gift of the Lord that changes lives."
13/07/2017 - YEMEN - UN
UN: fighting parties and foreign allies to blame for deadly cholera epidemic
UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs speaks of "scandal" caused "entirely by man". The belligerents and those who support them too, "direct, supply, fight and perpetrate" violence. Contagious cases have risen to 320,000, at least 1740 casualties. 250 million dollars needed to deal with the emergency, so far only 47 collected.
12/07/2017 - INDIA – YEMEN
Abducted in Yemen, Fr Tom is still alive
Yemen’s deputy prime minister made the announcement. His government will do everything possible to free the Salesian clergyman. India’s External Affairs Ministry offers its assistance to obtain the release.
12/07/2017 - SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi kingdom open to physical education for girls in public schools
The Education Ministry recently made the announcement. Physical education will respect the Sharia. For conservatives, it is immodest and goes against women’s “nature”. For now, there are no facilities and instructors. To overcome the reticence of opponents, Saudi authorities justify physical education on health grounds.
12/07/2017 - IRAQ
Mar Sako: After the liberation of Mosul, erase jihadist ideology and build peace
The Chaldean Patriarch expresses appreciation for the efforts of the Iraqi army and Peshmerga that led to victory in the former stronghold of the Caliphate. He outlines the "long and tiring" road that leads to lasting security. Still isolated episodes of violence in the city. Iraqi Prime: Living together with our "Christian brothers and sisters" is the "natural response" to Daesh. No confirmation of al- Baghdadi’s death.
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